Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Any real-life Matrix could Not be Only computers - but would Always require Beings
There is a common notion that there could, in principle, be a ruling Matrix that was entirely an Artificial Intelligence; consisting entirely of computers - and that such could (for good or ill) administer reality.
But this is not possible, even in theory. The world of computers is a world of quantities, of numbers; and as such excludes the issue of which qualities - of the entirety of open-ended and interconnected reality - is being 'modelled' by the numbers.
But modern Man has become very adept at blinding himself to the presence of Beings in all functional systems - Beings with life, consciousness and purpose. The Scientist is left-out of science, The Bureaucrat ignored in a Bureaucracy. Yet he is always present, always making selections and judgements and over-riding The System - and necessarily so.
This will never go away - so if, or when, there is claimed to be a purely objective, quantitative, numerical System in place; there will always be, somewhere and probably concealed, a Being or Beings standing-outside and above The System and manipulating it, adjusting it; partly to maintain its processes, and overall in-line-with their purposes.
It is ultimately these Beings which matter; far more than any System, any Artificial Intelligence - and in some ways The System functions merely to conceal this reality. It is a case of 'Pay no attention to that Being behind The System...'.
And this is precisely why modernity is tending towards a single bureaucratic System; why all mainstream politics and media converge upon this version of the future; because The Matrix both facilitates and conceals the influence of demonic Beings on the world.
Posted by Bruce Charlton at Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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Well, and the point of the Matrix was that some beings were used as slaves by other beings. The AI's of the original story were basically humans (or even demons) in that they had motives and needs, as well as darkly irrational impulses.
This is what is meant by "strong AI", it is not AI as we have come to understand it, an orderly collection of finite state machine algorithms operating in polynomial fashion. In the original understanding of the term "artificial intelligence", current AI is not AI at all, it does not have the ability to generalize and solve non-polynomial problems (or to approach a polynomial problem from a non-polynomial perspective). Futurists have varied in their hopes and fears for what a genuine AI would be, recently the vogue has been fear. But the truth is simply that, for all that we have lost control of technology, it has not gained control of itself, nor can it do so before our current civilization degrades too far to advance significantly on the problem of making a machine actually aware.
Modernity may be trending towards a centralized bureaucracy, but centralized bureaucracy tends towards dysfunction and collapse. Part of this is the nature of the demonic, which is inherently deceptive and destructive. Part of it is simply the human aspect, humans (even bureaucrats) do not live for the system, they set up and modify the system to suit their own needs. The system of itself can have no power to restrain such, the balance always has to be maintained by competing interest groups that challenge each alteration of the system to be justified in how it serves more than the narrow interests of the career bureaucrats.
But as bureaucracy passes the point at which anyone other than specialists can really understand the arcane details of organization and operation, all the competing interest groups are neatly removed from having any effectual voice in how the system is altered, only career bureaucrats can understand the practical outcome of the changes being considered, and thus only the interests of career bureaucrats are influential in motivating (or preventing) changes. But what is 'good' for the career bureaucrats is ultimately bad for the legitimacy and effectiveness of the system.
Because the other secret of the Matrix is that the cooperation of the slaves is essential. When they perceive that they are deceived, they can cease to support the system, causing it to fail.
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